Traveling by RV is a great way to explore the country this summer. There are more than 4,300 Recreation Vehicle campsites throughout the United States. These sites are located near national parks, beaches, and popular destinations. With so many campsites to choose from, you are sure to plan a fun and unique RV road trip this summer.
Your RV is an investment that you can use for years to come – if you take good care of it. It is not uncommon for RVs to suffer a mechanical breakdown in the first few years. However, there are many preventative steps you can take to help maintain your RV on your own and make it last.
Here are five RV maintenance tips to consider before your summer road trip.
1. Clean the Exterior of Your RV
It might seem obvious but keeping RV nice and clean is an incredibly important part of RV maintenance. These vehicles can gather plenty of dirt on a long road trip, especially if you drive through an area with bugs, dust, or salty air by the beach.
If left unaddressed, these outdoor elements can break down your RV paint and even cause mold and mildew. To keep your RV in great condition, we recommend cleaning the exterior of your RV at least twice a month on the road.
2. Ensure Roof is Free of Debris
Since an RV roof tends to be flat, there is no gravity to push debris off naturally- so leaves and dirt can easily pile up on top. If roof debris buildup isn’t regularly taken care of, it can cause damage to your roof and leaks. While this issue may be covered under a really good RV extended warranty, it is best to avoid the trouble by simply cleaning off the roof regularly.
Debris buildup can occur overnight at an RV campsite, especially if you are parked under a tree or in an area with lots of dirt and dust. As a result, you may need to clean your RV roof every few days during your road trip.
To clear your roof from debris, start by sweeping with a standard broom, then rinse with water. If you notice any cracks or damage to your roof, you will want to get it repaired right away.
3. Examine RV Tires
It’s important to make sure your tires are in good condition before hitting the road this summer. Closely examine your tires for any punctures, tears, and wear. You can easily check the tread by using a penny. Simply flip it upside down with Lincoln’s head facing towards you and insert it into the tread. If his head is covered, you’re good. If not, then it is time to replace the tires.
You should also check your tire pressure before any road trip, even if your RV is new. When your tire(s) are low on air, they can easily overheat and cause a blowout. A tire blowout can cause significant damage to your RV and serious injury to you and your passengers.
Don’t wait until you have a flat tire or blowout- check your tires beforehand and get them repaired the moment you notice any problems.
4. Use UV Protection on Your RV
The summer sun can easily wear down your RV if you are not careful. UV rays rapidly dry out the materials in RV awnings, which could cause holes and rips. Plus, the sun’s harmful rays eventually wear down and crack paint, especially on the roof of an RV.
To minimize the chances of sun damage, we recommend using a UV protectant product on your RV before traveling. These products are essentially sunscreen for vehicles and can be found at your local auto store.
Here’s how to use this UV protectant on your RV:
- Give your RV a thorough cleaning to remove dirt and dust.
- Spread the UV protectant on the RV roof with a rag or mop.
- Let it dry for about 2-3 minutes.
A coat of UV protectant protects vehicles from the sun for about three months, helping to extend the lifespan of your RV.
5. Check Brake Lights and Headlights
Getting rear-ended, pulled over, or ticketed can put a damper on your summer RV road-trip fun. The best way to minimize the chances of this from happening is ensuring that your brake lights are working. To check your lights, press the brakes and have a friend or family member stand behind the RV to ensure proper function.
Additionally, you should check your headlights to ensure safety. A dirty, fogged, or burnt-out headlight makes it difficult to see the road at night and puts you in an unsafe situation. Make certain your RV headlights are bright enough and properly cleaned before taking it anywhere this summer.
If you notice condensation inside a headlight, you need to have it repaired by a professional immediately. Moisture inside of a headlight can lead to electrical problems and severe mechanical damage to your RV. A professional mechanic will be able to repair or replace the headlight and check for any additional damage.
Hopefully, these 5 tips gave you a better understanding of how to maintain and protect your RV. Proper RV maintenance will help ensure that you have a safe and fun road trip this summer!
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Kevin is a proud San Diegan originally from Iowa. He loves hiking, surfing, rock climbing, and experiencing the outdoors in as many ways as possible. His love of exploring and writing motivated him to start Impulsive Wanderlust – a travel + leisure blog providing recommendations to travelers around the world.
Harvest Hosts does not endorse affiliate products mentioned in the above article, if any.
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